Celebrating 155 years of Indians in South Africa

Conference: Call for Papers

Celebrating 155 years of Indians in South Africa

Theme: Ethnicity, Race and Citizenship: Place of Indians in the New South Africa

Convenor: P. Pratap Kumar (Emeritus Professor)


Conference Dates: 11-15 November, 2015

Venue: Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa

Conference Registration Fee: $120 (USD)

Early Registration Fee: $100 (USD) before 30 October, 2015

Student Registration Fee: $75 USD

Abstract Submission Deadline: 31 July, 2015

The arrival of Indians since 1860 some as indentured workers and others as independent passengers with an intention to trade has fundamentally changed not only the demographic landscape of South Africa, but also had a deeper impact culturally, socially and religiously. On 16 November 2015 it will be 155 years of their presence in the country. Their experience extends from the colonial history to apartheid and finally culminating in the new South African dispensation. As such, their memories, their social history, their cultural and religious outlook has been shaped by these three key phases of history. In as much as they have shaped the memories of other cultural groups, they have been profoundly affected by their interactions with the rest of the South African population groups. This conference seeks to understand and appreciate as well as to conceptualise their presence in South Africa and also to assess and take stock of their contributions to the South Africanway of life as a whole, their troubles and anxieties not only of the past but also of the present. The conference aims to bring together researchers and academics to engage in critical discussion on a range of themes and topics that relate to South African Indians.

Although the focus is on South Africa, we also invite scholars working on Indian diaspora in other countries to offer papers and participate in the conference proceedings. The participation of scholars beyond South Africa will enable all of us in the field of diaspora studies to reflect on broader theoretical issues in conceptualising the Indian diaspora.

We therefore invite scholars and academics both from South Africa as well as beyond to submit papers for a 3 full day-long conference in Durban. Durban is a city that has the largest concentration of Indians outside of India. It is a coastal city with vibrant beaches and plenty of tourist attractions in and around the greater metropolitanarea.

Listed below are some of the sub-themes covered. Although participants are encouraged to submit under these themes, papers outside the scope of these themes are also invited as long as they relate to the Indian diasporic experience.

Issues of ethnicity within the South African Indian society and beyond

Inter-racial relations between Indians and other population groups in South Africa

Issues of Indian citizenship in South Africa

Issues of definition—South African Indian and Indian South African

Cultural and Religious Contributions to South Africa

Significant Public Personalities of Indian descent in South Africa

Political Future of Indians in South Africa

Affirmative Action and South African Indians

Social and Cultural Geographies of South African Indians

Media, Theatre, and Art

Indian Diaspora as Transnationals

Indian Diaspora beyond South Africa

Caste, Gender and Religious Identities in the Indian Diaspora

Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Identities in the Indian Diaspora

Scholars are invited to submit an abstract of 150 words along with the title of the paper. Postgraduate students working on any aspect of Indian diaspora are also invited to submit papers. We are in the process of setting up a website for the conference and in the mean time you can check for updates at the following website.


You can submit your abstract on the email mentioned below. For more details and for submission of abstracts please contact:

P. Pratap Kumar (Professor Emeritus)

School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics

Howard College Campus

University of KwaZulu Natal

Durban 4041

South Africa

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 027-31-260-7539/7303

Fax: 027:31-260-7286

Time and Place:

Date:   Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015
Venue:   Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa
Address:   Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa
City/Twon:   Durban, South Africa
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